Steps to Know Your Piano Notes

Learning to read music and recognize piano notes takes some practice, but it isn't difficult to master. Here are nine tips to get you started:

    * The notes on a scale fall between the letters A through G, and are repeated endlessly. Middle C is the C which falls in the middle of the keyboard if you are sitting in the center of the piano.

    * In Western music, the notes of the scale are written on a staff consisting of five lines. These lines are numbered one through five from the bottom of the staff. The notes can be placed on the lines or the spaces between the lines.

    * Learn the difference between treble and bass clef. On the piano, the treble clef notes are the keys from the mid to high range of notes, starting with middle C. The bass clef notes are the keys on the piano from the mid to low range, also meeting at the middle C. On sheet music, the treble clef notes are on top, while the bass clef notes are on the bottom of the staff.

    * Learn the letters that correspond with each note, or key. Notes range from A to G. Try these pneumonic devices to remember where the notes fall on the treble clef: On the treble scale, the notes ascend on the five lines as E, G, B, D, F, or Every Good Boy Does Fine. Notes on the treble clef four lines ascend in the order of F,A,C,E, or Face.

    * Use these pneumonic devices to learn the notes on the bass clef: the notes on the five lines of the bass scale in ascending order are G,B,D,F,A, or Good Boys Do Fine Always. Notes on the four lines of the bass clef in ascending order are A,C, E, G, or All Cows Eat Grass.

    * Learn the difference between sharp and flat notes. When the black note occurs above the white note, it is a sharp. When it occurs below the white note, it is a flat. Black notes can be both sharps and flats, depending on how they are played in a piece.

    * Pay attention to scales. If you know what an F looks like, they you can assume that the next note is G. If you're unsure of a note, consider the note nearest to it that you do recognize and count up or down.

    * Begin to see a sheet of music as a whole composition, rather than individual notes. For example, when you read, you don't consciously think of each note. Instead, you read words. So it is with playing the piano. In order to become fluent, you must "read" the whole piece. Practice playing scales, followed by chords. Both these exercises will improve your fluency and help you learn the notes.

    * Try to play a simple piano piece without looking at your fingers. Use your ear, the fingering provided on the music and your intuition. This exercise will train your brain and fingers to find the notes automatically.

Yoke Wong is the founder of PianoMother, a leading piano educational publisher. Her piano lessons DVDs and downloadable online courses, including Definitive Piano Improvisation course, This article is about piano notes  , find more at